Top Ten

November 23, 2020

Extending compassion to students as the pandemic continues: Opinion

Professors should increase compassion towards students rather than solely focusing on student engagement as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, write Aaron Langille and Victoria Kannen. The article lists some of the previous compassionate approaches that instructors have implemented within their classrooms, and outlines additional ways that instructors can extend compassion to students. Ideas include checking in with students, creating safe spaces, listening to and anticipating student needs, and trusting students to be doing their best. The authors write that compassionate strategies do not lower learning expectations or excuse students from meeting class criteria; instead, these strategies reduce anxiety, fear, and shame, while modeling life after university. University Affairs (National)

RRC offers free micro-credential to train health-care support workers

Red River College and the Manitoba government are partnering to create a COVID-19 health-care support worker micro-credential program. The uncertified micro-credential will train people to fill the staff shortages in Manitoba’s personal care homes. The program will include week-long intensive training comprised of five days of theory and two days of in-person training. It is free if students commit to working in a personal care home for three months after completion. “We must do everything possible to ensure we have staff to support the care needs of residents in our long-term care homes,” said MB Health Minister Cameron Friesen. “This requires an immediate increase in the available workforce — and this new training program addresses this goal.” CBC | Winnipeg Free Press | MB (MB)

CCNM, BINM merge to create Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine

The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine and the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine have agreed to merge. The new institute will be known as the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine. The merger will enhance the global recognition of the college, enhance its research and innovation capacity, and contribute to the college’s efficiency and reach. “We believe in a shared goal of offering naturopathic degrees to students across the country and becoming the global leader in naturopathic research,” said Bob Bernhardt, President of CCNM. “This integration will enhance the offerings our two institutions provide. As we embark on a new future together, this process will be executed thoughtfully and with increasing opportunities for faculty and current and future students.” CCNM (ON | BC)

Mitigating chronic faculty pandemic stress: Opinion

For many instructors, now is a key time of stress, writes Colleen Flaherty, and a new study has shown that this stress has become chronic for many faculty members in the US. The study identified new teaching modes as a significant source of stress. Additionally, the survey showed that professors were having to meet the emotional and mental health needs of students, which could lead to secondary trauma and mental health issues. Instructors also noted signs of burnout, with an increase in emotional drain and work-related stress or frustration. The article concludes by discussing ways to mitigate these issues for faculty, such as higher compensation, modified teaching loads or schedules, new technology or better technology support, and increased staff or teaching assistant support. Inside Higher Ed (International)

OCAD U report points to systemic barriers to creative entrepreneurship

“The impact of COVID-19 has been particularly hard on creative entrepreneurs, especially women, Indigenous, racialized and other diverse entrepreneurs,” write Alia Weston, Alexandra Hong, Karli Ferriolo, and Jacquie Shaw, researchers from OCAD U’s Centre for Emerging Artists & Designers (CEAD). In a new report, the authors shed light on the current realities of creative professionals at OCAD U and in the surrounding community, with particular emphasis on the experiences of women and individuals of marginalized genders. The report points to creative entrepreneurs in these communities facing systemic barriers, such as a lack of support structures and inadequate government policies. “What we’re showing are longstanding structural challenges related to gender discrimination and intersectional barriers faced by creatives in the entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Weston. OCAD U (ON)

UVic students paint mural to bring awareness to fossil-fuel investments

Some University of Victoria students have painted a temporary mural in front of the administrative building emphasizing renewable energy and environmental health. The mural is meant to send the message to the new president that the institution should withdraw investments from the fossil-fuel industry. The students are hopeful that the change in leadership will lead to climate change being addressed. “We’re trying to demonstrate the strong support that divestment has on our university campus,” said Emily Lowan, leader of the initiative and director of campaigns and community relations for the UVic Student Society. In response to the students’ message, UVic president Kevin Hall said, “I look forward to further discussions with our campus community about how we can do more.” Times Colonist (BC)

Ryerson’s SRFI receives $1M, 5-year program renewal

Ryerson University’s Suzanne Rogers Fashion Institute (SRFI) has renewed a five-year fellowship program following a second $1M donation from the Edward and Suzanne Rogers Foundation. The SRFI fosters fashion design talent through bridging the “transition between fashion education and practice.” Students in the program benefit from mentorship, industry guidance, and financial assistance. “Designers are gifted with the ability to uplift the human spirit through their creativity, and we urge them to adapt and remain vigilant through these trying times,” said SRFI director Robert Ott. Ryerson (ON)

BrandonU extends Pass/No Credit grading options to Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 terms

Brandon University has announced that it will be extending its Pass or No Credit grading options to students during the Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 semesters. Students can request to have any passing grade reflected as a Pass, and non-passing grades shown as No Credit on their transcript. Neither a Pass nor No Credit will count towards GPA. “This is a time for compassion,” said BU Registrar Andrea McDaniel. “These options offer much-needed flexibility for students, recognizing that they continue to face ongoing disruption, unpredictable circumstances, and new challenges.” Brandon (MB)

St Clair unveils new Sports Park complex

St Clair College has officially unveiled its new $26.8M Sports Park. The new complex includes the Zekelman Tennis Centre, a sand volleyball complex, a women’s softball diamond, and a 1,500-seat soccer and football stadium. The Sports Park complex has been 10 years in the making after St Clair’s athletics fields were diminished in size due to the construction of a parkway. “It definitely has been our wish for the past decade to see the Saints come marching home onto campus on fields and diamonds reflecting their excellence and to provide an atmosphere and amenities, which would encourage substantial fan attendance,” said St Clair president Patti France. St Clair (ON)

Managing imposter syndrome: Opinion

A recent article from the University of Alberta says that not only do around 70% of people experience imposter syndrome, but that it is even more common in grad students. The article says that acknowledging feelings of imposter syndrome is an important first step to understanding its impacts, and that finding others in similar positions to share these feelings with can help alleviate imposter syndrome through building community and support networks. Other strategies the article suggests include asking for professional help, resisting comparing oneself to others, and documenting positive feelings and accomplishments to review during future moments of imposter syndrome. Medium (International)